Genesis 44.18-21,23-29; 45.1-5; Psalm 104; Matthew 10.7-15
Henry was born in Bavaria in 972; at the age of 23 he succeeded his father (known as ‘Henry the Quarrelsome’) as Duke of Bavaria. At the age of 30 he succeeded his cousin as King of Germany; he was the first to take the title Rex Romanorum. In 1014 he was elected Holy Roman Emperor and crowned (as Emperor Henry II) by the Pope, Benedict VIII.
He is remembered as a just ruler, a defender of the Church, a friend of the poor and a model of virtue. His principal task was unification of the German Empire and this aim he largely succeeded in. He was bereft after the death of his wife, St Cunegund, and thought to resign his imperial power and become a monk. Instead, he became an oblate of the Benedictines. He founded a new diocese of Bamberg and built there a monastery and a Cathedral, where he was buried in 1024. He is the patron of Benedictine oblates.